January 12, 2013 in Washington Voices

Fire engine damaged in rear-end collision

By The Spokesman-Review

This photo shows some of the damage to a Spokane Valley Fire Department engine that was rear-ended on Interstate 90 on Dec. 29 as it was responding to a call. The truck was taken to the factory to determine whether it can be repaired.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

Spokane Valley Fire Department Engine 5 is being evaluated at the factory after it was rear-ended while responding to an accident.

The engine’s lights were flashing and siren sounding when a Ford pickup hit it on Interstate 90 on Dec. 29.

The department’s equipment was removed and the 2006 Seagrave Pumper was taken back to the factory on a flatbed to assess the damage, said assistant fire marshal Bill Clifford. Workers will have to remove the “box” part of the truck in order to see if the frame is bent, he said.

“In-town estimates were topping $150,000,” he said. “I would assume that the insurance company is going to pay for this.”

The right rear of the truck was crushed inward, damaging equipment compartments on the side of the truck with roll-up doors. Cracks are visible in the truck body. “You would think it was just the back bumper,” Clifford said. “It separated all the welded joints in the box, so none of the doors really open and close properly anymore. It shoved the right side of the box right up into that pump panel. It took a pretty good hit.”

The engine cost nearly half a million dollars new, Clifford said. If the engine is totaled the other driver’s insurance would probably have to pay for the depreciated value rather than replacement value, Clifford said.

Firefighters on the truck at the time complained of some neck and back pain but none required a trip to the hospital, Clifford said.

Things were busy the week of Jan. 3-9, with department crews responding to 261 calls. “Obviously the snow that we had was a big factor,” Clifford said.

The department received five downed power line calls and responded to 14 car accidents on Monday alone. There were 29 crashes reported during the week; four people required a trip to the hospital for minor injuries.

A chimney fire was reported in the 1700 block of South Blake Road on Wednesday. “That was caused by a bird’s nest in the chimney,” Clifford said. He urged residents to clean their chimney before using it for the first time in the season.

Residents in the 13400 block of East Saltese Road came home to a house filled with smoke on Jan. 4. Firefighters had to use a thermal imaging camera to find the cause, Clifford said. “They found that a pillow had fallen between a bed and a wall right on top of the baseboard heater,” he said. The pillow and wall were charred, but there were not any flames, Clifford said.

Ashes caused a fire outside a mobile home in the 18700 block of East Boone Avenue on Jan. 5. “They had put ashes from their fireplace in a combustible container and it ended up catching on fire,” Clifford said. Fireplace ashes should be put in a metal container placed well away from any structures, he said.

Crews responded to 195 EMS calls during the week as well as two broken water mains.

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